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Mon, 26 Jun


Dreyfus Room

Illumination Fading ​

Mike Martin (Oxford)

Time & Location

26 Jun 2023, 16:00 – 17:30

Dreyfus Room, 28 Russell Sq, London WC1B 4HS, UK


Bertrand Russell famously abandons the sense-datum theory for  a form of neutral monism. But what happens to Russell’s most serious  objection to neutral monism concerning our understanding of ‘I’, ‘now’  and ‘this’, what he first calls ‘emphatic particulars’ (and then later  ‘eogcentric particulars’)? In his manuscript notes from 1918, Russell  indicates that he takes this, along with giving an account of the nature  of belief, to be the hardest task for neutral monism. But he doesn’t  return to the topic of the indexicals until 1940 in An Inquiry into  Meaning & Truth. When he does, the resulting theory looks much like  the original sense-datum theory. This presents us with two puzzles: what  is the real form of Russell’s original argument in 1913 against neutral  monism? And what assumption about it changes between 1913 and 1940?  Addressing these interpretive questions will aid us in putting in  context certain current debates about consciousness and subjectivity.

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